Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Philip Naviasky

My Dutch translator, Auke Leistra, has been in touch. Today he asked me a question about my text, but a few weeks ago he kindly emailed me with the interesting news that he had found out who painted the portait of the girl for the Ambo Anthos cover of 98 REDENEN OM TE ZIJN. The artist was called Philip Naviasky (1894-1983), and he painted the portrait in 1927.

A search of the internet doesn't reveal a great deal about the man except that he was a Jewish artist based at the Leeds College of Art in Yorkshire. The most intriguing reference to him is in the Spectator; apparently one of his paintings is called 'Portrait of a Rabbi' and is 'richly textured'- this I should love to see.

Thanks to John Duncalfe who tells me that some of Philip Naviasky's work is currently on show in Leeds:
Detail from Jacob Kramer - The Jew (Meditation). By courtesy of the William Roberts Society


An exhibition forming part of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Leeds Jewish community.
17 April - 20 July 2013
Private View: Tuesday, 16 April 2013, 6-8pm
The exhibition is based around the major Jewish artists in the University of Leeds Art Collection (Jacob Kramer, Philip Naviasky, Willy Tirr) and loans from other public and private collections, including works by Joash Woodrow. Contemporary artists are also represented by Lydia Bauman, Gillian Singer and Judith Tucker.


If you have any information on Philip Naviasky please would you either email me (email address on profile page - click link on right hand side below my biography) or leave your email address in the comments. I won't publish it unless you want me to.


Sybil Ruth, who runs a small fine art business, has discovered more about Philip Naviasky, and has written a very interesting blog post about her research here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Clare,

My writer-friend (and prison-friend from South Africa in the Sixties), David Evans, sent on to me your blog.

The owner of the Portrait of a Rabbi (1912)by Philip Naviasky is the superb and honourable art critic, Brian Sewell, who writes the most sensible art criticism every Friday in the Evening Standard.

There's a good reproduction thsat accmpanies Sewell's essay in the commemorative catalogue published by the Ben Uri Art Society in London, The Ben Uri Story from Art Society to Museum and the Influence of Anglo-Jewish Artists on the the Modern British Movement (London, 2001. p.20.

Sewell also owns (and reproduces with the same essay) a very fine view of Jerusalem from the 1920s by a stronger British artist than Naviasky, David Bomberg (1890-1957). Look up a reproduction of Bomberg's Hear, O Israel (1955), now in the Jewish Museum in New York, after Sir Nicholas Serota at the Tate declined to raise a finger to buy it, after Bomberg's niece had let the Tate have it on loan for a long time, and needed to sell. (Bomberg was not a Zionist, by the way).


Paul Trewhela

Fri May 26, 08:25:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul: Thank you so much for the information - I shall investigate next time I go down to the British Library, that's really kind of you, and I am amazed to get a respose to my query so quickly. I shall look up that Bomberg too.

Sat May 27, 10:48:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to those interested in phillip naviasky, i have several of his paintings and pastel drawings. several of these are of my grandmother and they are beautiful.
Phillip Naviasky was a friend of my grandfather sam cohen, who was also an artist (although he never became well known) I believe that they both lived in Leeds. My grandfather's family were from Lithuania.
The paintings of my grandmother are exquisitely tender and moving pieces. i am really interested to know more about the man who provided the wonderful paintings which illustrated my childhood.
Ruth Miller

Sun Mar 11, 09:32:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may be a little late but I have just come across your blog because I was googling Naviasky! Such is the serendipity of the Internet. My husband and I, who live in Yorkshire, have over 20 Naviasky charcoal drawings, sketches and two oils. We love them. We'd have more but we haven't the room to display them all. My favourite, a charcoal drawing of a young girl looking sulky hangs over our fireplace. Since he died I believe that his family have been selling off many unframed examples of his work and are reasonably priced for such a good artist. It may be the fact there are so much of his work circulating that keeps the price low. Who knows?

I love the painting featured on your Dutch cover.

Thu Mar 15, 07:25:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How strange - two responses to this old post so close together and so recently. Thank you both for the information. I'd love to see more Naviasky - last ime I looked I could see very little on the web which seems a shame because he was obviously very talented. Maybe we ought to start a Naviasky appreciation Society - with a website with his pictures and as much as information that we can find.

Thu Mar 15, 08:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Searching the web for Philip Naviasky, came across your blog. Good idea to start a Naviasky appreciation fan club. I own a lovely P. N. oil of a young woman. My father bought it in NYC in the late 1940's. It is a favorite in our family.

Sun Jun 10, 08:59:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right, Suzart, you're on! I'd really love to see some more of his work.

Sun Jun 10, 09:16:00 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Came across this thread by typing in Philip Naviasky - as a restorer in yorkshire I have bought, sold, & handled many examples of his work. Now I have no gallery I use the internet and agree there is a paucity of supply. Mrs Millie Naviasky kindly took my wife and I out to dinner after I had visited her and paid more than she was asking for some works! Philip's ability to use colour almost "from the tube" in his portraits produce stunning effects.(Look at the lips) Their daughter Sonia also produced very diverse works and sometime puzzling works, although her watercolours often reflect her father's use of colour. Any news of Sonia?

Fri Aug 10, 08:40:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have recently inherited numerous oil paintings and charcoal drawings of Phillip Naviaskys work. I couldnt bear to part with them. Naviasky was my uncles brother-in-law. He was a very talented artist and there has been a number of articles written about him in the Yorkshire Evening post and Jewish times which was published as far as I know in Leeds where he lived. He was once commissioned to do an oil painting of someone famous and the painting (as far as I know) is held in Keighley library. I would love to see more paintings by him on the website.

Tue Aug 14, 05:21:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems like I have a little project on my hands! Thank you very much for the leads, anon and thank you Richard. If either of you would like to email me to tell me more I should love to set up a website when I get a little time in the next few months.


(Replace AT with '@' and DOT with .)

It seems like the demand is certainly there - and the man deserves one.

Tue Aug 14, 05:33:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently purchased at auction an oil painting by Naviasky, signed and dated 1932. It's a head and shoulders portrait of a young woman with bobbed hair.

It has just come back from being cleaned, re-lined and fitted with a new gold-leaf frame.

My wife and I have placed it above the fireplace in our sitting room, and it is really quite striking.

I would like to learn more about the artist. The picture is well painted but only cost a few hundred pounds to buy; which seems to me to be a real bargain!

Tue Aug 21, 12:17:00 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have some charcoal drawings by Philip - they are now framed and mounted and for sale at another gallery. One is dated 1917 and one of them can be seen on my website go to "Gallery" and then "Other Artwork"
I also have some strange gouache and oils by Sonia.

Sun Nov 25, 10:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just looking through the comments and I would love to see the Portrait of a Rabbi. Philips father in law was a rabbi in Leeds in the 40s and 50s. The rabbi and his family fled Ludvono Russia definately before the 2nd world war (maybe before the 1st world war and came to England with his family. anon

Fri Nov 30, 02:09:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is anyone selling ant of Philip Naviasky's painting. I am his great nephew and very keen in keeping his works in the family.

I have a number of striking portraits from the early 1930's of my late father.

My e.mail =

Sat Feb 02, 08:08:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard says,
My dad owns a Naviasky painting of my great great great grandfather, a Rabbi in Leeds (Avram Padve). Just before his death Naviasky visited my family home and saw the painting.
The painting was originally discovered by my great uncle in a junk shop in Blackpool. Although in a poor condition he recognised the painting of his own grandfather.

Wed Mar 26, 04:55:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your comments. I am really going to have to start a Philip Naviasky website and try and find out some more. I have made an enquiry about a possible book because I think this is so interesting - but not much luck so far.

I think it would be really good to have a website devoted to the man - where maybe photos of his pictures could be posted up and fragments of his history.

Wed Mar 26, 05:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've just come across this blog too on googling Philip Naviasky. Saw two lovely works of his just this week in the Pannett Gallery in Whitby, North Yorkshire - we were blown away. And there's a real paucity of info online...

Thu Mar 27, 07:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am Philip Naviasky's great niece and have a couple of his watercolours. He did the most wonderful oil painting of my father when he was about five years old, it's quite superb.

Sat Jun 20, 10:50:00 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good to see another relative has found the site. Any news of Philip & Millie's daughter Sonia? - I bought a diverse collection of her works many years ago - she obviously painted in Coillure with her father as well as developing her own style.

Sun Jun 21, 10:07:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thank you for your comments Anon and Richard. Philip Naviasky certainly generates quite a bit of interest. I think a proper website would be good. He sounds like an interesting man.

Mon Jun 29, 08:55:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can any one help me i would love some information on philip i happen to work with his daughter and that is how ui came across him.. sonia still paints. CHERISE

Thu Feb 11, 05:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thu Feb 11, 05:39:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Can you email me please Cherise?

Thu Feb 11, 05:40:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife's Great Aunt (Aunt Alma) lived in the same group of apartments as Mr Naviasky. This was in Harrogate in the early 60's and they became very good friends. Mr Naviasky gave Aunt Alma a framed picture that was then given to my wife 9on the death of Aunt Alma) and it still hangs proudly in our lounge.
The picture is an oil still life of flowers in a blue vase. NAVIASKY is written on the bottom left of the picture.
Best wishes,

Fri Feb 12, 02:49:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thank you John - it's great to hear these fragments of Naviasky's life and work. It's becoming more and more intriguing. I'm going to have to try and put them together somehow.

Please would you email me John? Or is you just comment with your email address I won't publish it unless you want me to.

Sun Feb 14, 11:28:00 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

We have a set of five portraits by Philip Naviasky. These are of my mother and her family, painted in 1933 (Liverpool, UK). They were discovered languishing in a family member's garage but have now been cleaned, restored and framed. They are a family treasure and we don't want to sell them, but feel that it may a good idea for them to be 'catalogued', if anyone is undertaking such a project.

Wed Mar 24, 09:12:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks Rachelle. I'm interested - but posting this up in case anyone else is interested too.

Wed Mar 24, 09:21:00 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

My husband's recently found a PN painting that we are in the process of having cleaned etc. From the above comments, our painting sounds to be of a different style & subject than the others. It is a beautiful painting of a lovely young woman whose dress seems to go back to an earlier century. My husband may be interested in selling it

Mon Mar 29, 07:10:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have a nayiasky oil on board painting of linda,

Fri Oct 01, 08:26:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

I'd love to see photos of any of these Naviaskys

Fri Oct 01, 09:25:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have a lovely picture of his of,I think,the
High Street in Morley ,Leeds.He was certainly a talented,relatively prolific yet modest man.

Thu Nov 11, 11:37:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Again, I'd love to see, Anon. My email address is in my profile page (click on see my complete profile beneath my photo at the top of this page).

Fri Nov 12, 08:54:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have 4 nudes of his wife they are early very large works.

Thu Jan 20, 04:32:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Sounds wonderful, Anon. Again, if you have photos I'd love to see them!

Thu Jan 20, 08:54:00 am  
Anonymous Tim Payne said...

I have 17 Asstd dawings by the artist,Showing what I believe to be are a record of his close family.
Also included in this collection are a pastel drawing of two children at a party.
A self portrait and at least two landscape sketches.The rest being a variety of working and complete drawings.
I am considering selling this Complete collection.
All are signed and dated{early 1900s]
Please contact Tim Payne on 07511 659 550
For further details

Fri Jan 21, 07:44:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also a relative of Philip Naviasky. His father, Barnet Naviasky, was the brother of my grandfather, Charles Navasky.

I can provide a bit of family history. If anyone is interested, you can email me through my web site,

Charles Siegel

Wed Feb 16, 04:39:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thank you Charles! I shall certainly be in touch.

Thu Feb 17, 08:40:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a pastel drawing by Naviasky of one of my aunts, head and shoulders, done in 1925. We think it was commissioned by Lord Moynihan for whom she worked at that time. Naviasky was a contemporary of her sister at Leeds Art School. This picture fell off the wall the other day and damaged the original frame which I am now trying to have repaired.

Sat Jul 14, 08:52:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks Anonymous! That's such a great thing to have in the family with such an interesting history. Do you like the picture?

Sat Jul 14, 10:56:00 am  
Blogger Unknown said...


I'm looking to buy a portrait by Naviasky. If anyone has one for sale, please email me on with an image and details etc.

Many Thanks


Mon Nov 12, 09:17:00 pm  
Blogger joymk said...

Been reading this thread with interest as I have a very old photo of my mother as the subject of a Naviasky painting.This painting was done in 1923 or4 and I would dearly love to trace it! She was about 7 at the time.Happy to scan and send the photo to anyone who might be able to recognise it.
Many thanks

Tue Sept 10, 10:39:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

I'd love to see it, Joy!

Tue Sept 10, 10:43:00 am  

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